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more likely / most likely / likely

Discussion in 'English Only' started by ienakiko, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. ienakiko Senior Member

    Spanish
    Hello!

    I'm confused about this words.

    For example, I could say:

    1. Your shoppers more than likely have a bank account already, and don't want to give out data again.

    2. The more you use a word, the more likely you will remember it

    3. I'll most likely be able to use coins

    4. These are skills that any individual is likely to possess.


    is there any difference between them?? I mean, can I use:

    1. Your shoppers most than likely have a bank account already, and don't want to give out data again.

    2. The more you use a word, the most likely you will remember it

    3. I'll more likely be able to use coins

    4. These are skills that any individual is more likely to possess.

    It doesn't make any sense to me to add "more" or "most" before likely.

    Sorry is this is a little tricky :confused:
    Please help!
    thanks for your comments!
     
  2. Renaissance man Senior Member

    #1. You can't say "most than likely", because most is superlative and cannot be compared (using than).

    #2. When something is "most likely" it's just very likely. But "the most likely" must be followed by the word or phrase it modifies, to express that of all alternatives, that one is that of highest probability. Thus:
    "We'll most likely meet tomorrow."
    "The most likely scenario is that we'll meet tomorrow."

    As for #3:
    "I'll more likely be able to use coins." This is compared with something else, like
    "They may only accept bills, but I'll more likely be able to use coins [as well]."

    The same goes for #4; it doesn't make much sense to use the comparative form of the adjective if you haven't compared it with anything.
     
  3. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    London
    English - South-East England
    Note also that 'likely' is both an adverb (1, 2, 3) and an adjective (4). The adjective can modify a noun ('the likely outcome') or come after a form of 'be' ('it is likely that...'). Both adverbs and adjectives can be modified by 'more' and 'most', of course, with their usual meanings.

    Adverbs come in typical adverb positions, such as before the verb: 'Shoppers most likely have...', and after the auxiliary: 'You'll most likely be...'

    These facts together should enable you to understand why the word is used where it is. And to prepare you for one oddity: in AmE 'likely' is a normal adverb, but in BrE it can't be used on its own.

    Shoppers likely have a bank account already. :)tick:AmE but :cross:BrE)

    BrE requires an additional modifying adverb, and 'most' is commonly used here:

    Shoppers most/quite/very likely have a bank account already.

    Here it doesn't really mean "most", that is "more than any other".
     
  4. ienakiko Senior Member

    Spanish
    thanks for your explanation!
     

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